|Michael Williams helps Saigon Heat win 121-115 over ABL defending champions Hong Kong Eastern on Tuesday. — Photo zing.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Michael Williams’s outstanding performance helped Saigon Heat beat defending champions Hong Kong Eastern 121-115 in their ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) match on Tuesday.
The Filipino-American newcomer played a key role in the victory of Heat, the only representative of Việt Nam to have won in the overtime.
Heat ended the host’s winning streak that saw the latter score seven wins since the beginning of the league.
The Vietnamese shocked the home supporters when they quickly ran ahead to lead 13-2 and then 19-6 in the first quarter, with six successful three-point throws and five of the players netted.
The powerful Eastern needed until half time of the first quarter to recover and bagged their points.
However, in the second, third and fourth quarters, Williams, Moses Morgan and Nguyễn Tuấn Tú helped Heat to lead in the points chart.
Towards the end of the last quarter, Maxie Esho was sent off. His absence strongly affected Heats’ performance when they led 103-96, with 2 minutes 34 seconds remaining.
Hong Kong Heritage Import Christian Standhardinger went to town as he scored four straight points to trim the deficit down to three. Hometown Hero Lee Ki tied the game with a cold-blooded triple with 1 minute 44 seconds remaining.
Lee pushed Hong Kong in the lead for the first time in the game as he sank another triple with 40 seconds remaining. However, Heritage Import Williams responded by knocking down a triple of his own. The game went to overtime at 106-all.
Hong Kong tried their best in the overtime to salvage points, but it was Heat that had the stronger finishing kick.
With their heroic delivery, Williams and Akeem Scott helped Heat celebrate at the Southorn Stadium.
There were several impressive performances from Heat, but none as good as that of Williams. He lit up the night with 39 points, highlighted by a scintillating eight from the three-point area. He also chipped in seven rebounds and nine assists.
The duo of Scott and Morgan were also invaluable for the visiting side as they scored 29 and 27 points, respectively.
Heat shattered several scoring records in the win. They made the most triples in a game with 18 and also set a new single game scoring record with 121 points. They climbed to 3-2 in the solo third place. Hong Kong Eastern dropped to 7-1 in the standings.
Saigon Heat, who had previously beaten Formosa Dreamers of Chinese Taipei and Mono Vampires of Thailand, will return home and prepare for their match with Chong Son Kung Fu of China at the CIS Arena in HCM City on Sunday. — VNS